Thursday, September 3, 2009

Something to Think About

Do you ever wonder why people still look to the Jews (Israel) as the chosen people of God, divinely destined to return to Palestine and rightfully own that land and rule the nations of the world? Jews have long taught it. Pre-millennial Christians think in similar terms. This issue has compounded and confused global politics for generations.

The ultimate authority for advocates of this theory is the Scofield Bible. I find something to think about in THINE IS THE KINGDOM (H.C. Heffren/97-101/Reformation Publishers).

The Trial of Jesus before Pilate resulted from his “claim that He was the Son of God. This charge, however, was not a capital offense in the Roman state, so a different charge had to be made before Pilate. At first they tried to evade the issue by saying, “If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee” (John 18:30). They hoped to obtain a death sentence without revealing their underlying cause, but Pilate refused to grant it without further evidence of Jesus’ guilt.

Pilate demanded that they prove that Jesus somehow menaced the Roman government, as a basis for their charge of sedition. Heffren describes the seething mob of frantic men hurling torrents of indignant accusations against Him, calculated to result in His death. Above the din someone shouted, “We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is ‘Christ, a king” (Luke 23:2).

This charge amounted to treason against the Roman state a crime for which death was the penalty and Barabbas was already in prison due on a similar charge.

Now, suggests Heffren,“Had Christ ever proclaimed an earthly kingdom, either present or future, this accusation would have been true, and capital punishment would have been warranted. Since there were no witnesses present to verify the accusation, Pilate took Jesus into the judgment hall and questioned Him privately.”

We tell this story every Easter and here Heffren protests “in strongest terms” against the “notes” in the Scofield Reference Bible from which he quotes that Jesus “first offered the Jews an earthly Davidic kingdom but later withdrew the offer because of Jewish opposition. In its place He substituted a Kingdom of rest and service” (see S.R.B., p. 1011).

Heffren argues that if we “accept the Scofield notes as correct, we must also conclude that the court testimony given by Jesus was perjury, since He disclaimed ever to have taught that His kingdom was of an earthly character. Had it been so Pilate could not have exonerated Him. Moreover, if the promises of the Old Testament demanded an earthly kingdom as fulfillment, then the only possible way Jesus could claim to be the Messiah was to fulfill them.

Jesus could not alter God’s eternal purpose and be “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Any deviation from the prophetic fulfillment would immediately have convicted Him of being an imposter, as indeed that is what the Jews maintained He was.

Each of the four gospels mentions that Pilate expressly asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” The question is of paramount importance! Jesus calmly replied, “You say that I am,” adding, “My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world then would my servants fight that I would not be delivered to the Jews; but now my kingdom is not from hence.”

What Jesus said really means, “But as it really is, my kingdom is not from hence;” it is not of an earthly character and there would be nothing gained by fighting for it.”

According to Matthew 27:18, Pilate “knew that for envy they [the Jews] had delivered him.” He therefore gave his verdict of not guilty, but tried to compromise with justice and pacify the mob by ordering Jesus to be scourged. Although he ordered an extremely painful punishment, the decision infuriated the people.

As Heffren reports it, pandemonium broke loose. Stentorian voices shouted, “If you let this man go you are not Caesar’s friend. Whosoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar” (John 19:12). The people raged in this shocking manner until the blackest chapter in human history was written in the shed blood of the innocent Lamb of God. “The voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed, and Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required” (Luke 23:23).

Of interest to me is that Scofield’s flawed thinking makes Jesus a liar and the bible an uninspired record, either that or God flip-flopped in sending Jesus as The Messiah.That I cannot accept!

Something to think about,
from Walking With Warner,

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